Re: auton in John 1.10

The problem is insoluble if one does not consider how the whole 
prologue is constructed and how it is connected with the rest. John 
wants to talk about Jesus. His topic is not an abstract hypostasis: it is 
that same individual the other gospels talk about. Even if the opening 
lines (for reasons we cannot discuss here) speak very solemnly of 
Logos, Life and Light, the central subject of the whole discourse is 
Jesus: the individual Jesus, who lived among us and preached the 
gospel. Grammatically and textually (at the surface level) the 
masculine pronoun "auton" in 1.10 is the first apparition of Jesus, and 
it comes ex abrupto. But both logically and narratively the character 
was already there. It was the implied topic, from the very beginning. 
For the gospel is exactly this: a narrative about Jesus, about what he 
said, about what he did. After a theorizing prologue, the real subject 
comes out. 1.9-10 (at least since "auton" onwards) makes the 
transition. Since 1.11 the text speaks clearly about Jesus and his life 
(with 1.14 connecting the story with the prologue).

The problem arises because the thing is a bit more complex. 1.6-8 
are parenthetical. 1.9-10 resume the previous discourse and bring 
about a subtle shift. It starts speaking of the Logos and ends speaking 
of Jesus.The Logos was the genuine Light, through the Logos 
("di'autou") was made the universe, but... But, when John says "ho 
kosmos auton ouk egno", this "auton" is both the Logos *and* Jesus. 
With "auton" John *identifies* (whatever this may mean) the Logos 
and Jesus. "Autos" is the Logos-Jesus. Since now onwards the explicit 
topic is Jesus, even if 1.14 echoes back the prologue's motif and 
reminds us of this "double identity". When in 1.29 John mentions 
Jesus for the first time (1.17 is extranarrative), he does'not need to 
introduce him: the character was already on the scene.

The chief syntactical difficulty is in 1.9-10. We must assume, 
firstly, that in "en to phos alethinon" the implied subject is "autos": to 
wit, the Logos(-Jesus). Secondly, we have to realize that "kai ho 
kosmos di'autou egeneto" is parenthetical (= the very universe that 
*had been made* by him). The rest is not difficult. In 1.3-4 the 
pronouns refer both to Logos. In 1.7 "autou" ("di'autou") is masculine 
and refers to John the Baptizer.

The fact... makes me wonder whether I am just blind at this  point!  

No. It is a real problem, although others do not see it.

Domenico LEMBO

       Domenico LEMBO                   Universita' di Napoli